Wednesday, February 01, 2006

GRACE VS WORKS by Keith Giles

GRACE VS WORKS by Keith Giles

I'm fascinated with how the proliferation of the "Easy Grace" version of the Gospel has corrupted our understanding of actually "Following Jesus".

If we're all saved anyway, why fast? Why die to ourselves? Why suffer here in this life? If you do those things and I don't, but we both still go to heaven, why bother?

The warped idea that because we're saved by Grace we therefore shouldn't actually follow Jesus is absurd...and directly in opposition to the words of our Lord Himself.

"If anyone would come after me let him take up his cross daily and follow me"-Jesus

"Not everyone who says to me 'Lord, Lord' will enter the Kingdom of Heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father in Heaven." - Jesus

Want a shock? Read Ephesians 2:8-10. This is where Paul unloads the idea that we're saved by Grace "...and not of ourselves lest any man should boast", however, if you read the very next verse he says, "...saved by Grace TO DO GOOD WORKS.."

How about that? The ideas of Grace and Works really do go hand in hand!

Again, we are totally saved by Grace, no question about it. But as Dallas Willard says, "Grace is not opposed to effort".

The area where we've gotten so confused is in understanding that, just because works won't save us, that doesn't mean that works are bad. It just means we need to have a correct understanding of the idea of service.

Jesus says in Matthew 4 "..Worship the Lord your God and serve Him only."

Service and worship are linked together. Worship is more than singing songs and crying and jumping up and down to declare with your lips that God is good. It's also, Biblically, about surrendering your whole life to God (Romans 12), and about caring for the poor (Amos 5, Isaiah 58, James 2:14, 1 John 3:17-18, etc.), and about obedience to God and to Jesus' words (John 14:15; Matthew 7:24, etc.).

Works are what actual saved people do gladly. See Matthew 25 for a great proof text.

Here's my analogy: "If you swim all day, you will not become a fish. But if you are a fish, you will swim."

Translation: "If you're actually transformed into a new creature (by Grace), then you will do what a transformed creature does (Obey the Lord you love and serve Him)".

Jesus didn't submit himself to become a baby in the hay, endure the hardships of life, suffer under the Romans, endure whipping, beating, torture and mocking, even death on a cross just so you and I could sit on the couch and watch "American Idol".

He saved us to allow us to be living testimonies of His Grace, not idle recepticles of this amazing love for a private collection.

God help me to live this out!

Wendy and I are called to be missional in our community, and to the world around us, but we both realize it doesn't come natural to us. We're totally throwing ourselves on His mercy, on His Grace, to somehow live in this "Jesus kind of way".

God opposes the proud, but He gives Grace to the humble.

Praise His Holy Name for that.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

This is hard thing to do.